Donald Trump may have refused to mandate a federal shutdown to protect citizens against Covid-19 while president of the US – but he does appear to have been forced into closing parts of his remaining empire.
The former president has been spotted holding court at his Florida golf resort in a very Phoenix Nights kind of way recently, with guests having posted various pictures of the mask-less and MAGA-capped septuagenarian stood at a lectern before a small crowd, in a somewhat tragic reflection of his former political dominance.
But it’s unclear whether such antics will continue, after the Associated Press reported that Mar-a-Lago had “partially closed” a section of the club and quarantined some of its workers “out of an abundance of caution.”
Citing numerous sources, including one familiar with the club’s operations, the news agency reported that multiple staff members had tested positive for the virus.
An email reportedly sent to members appeared to confirm the news and said that, while banquet and event services remained operational, service had been temporarily suspended in the club’s dining room and at its beach club, adding that the club had undertaken “all appropriate response measures”, including sanitising affected areas”.
It added: “The health and safety of our members and staff is our highest priority.”
It comes after the Palm Beach resort was threatened with future fines of $15,000 after attendees of a New Year’s Eve party, including Donald Trump Jr, posted footage online showing few of the 500-odd guests wearing face masks or social distancing as they gathered on a dance floor to watch the likes of Vanilla Ice perform.
Given Trump’s handling of the pandemic during his time in the White House, some on social media felt cursed with a certain level of grim prescience about the outbreak.
Others, meanwhile, used the former president’s past words against him – with one Twitter user making apparent reference to Trump’s penchant for labelling foreign nations “s***holes”, or claiming that Democrat-run cities were “filthy” or “infested”.
And some questioned why Trump appeared to have deviated from his past response.
But while some found it hard not to view the news through a lens of dark irony, the reality couldn’t be further from humorous.